You don’t need to be an astrologer in dreadlocks or a natural-ingredient-loving mama to get some practical use out of essential oils. Here are six ways a tiny glass bottle of lavender oil can make your camping trip more enjoyable and better smelling.

Scenario #1: Bee sting

lavender bee

Sonny Abesamis/Flickr

After a long day of hiking, you sit down in a field of flowers, tug off your boots, and promptly step on a bee. Before your foot puffs up and won’t fit back into your boot, apply lavender to your sting or bug bite. It will instantly take swelling down and provide itch relief.

Scenario #2: Sunburn and cuts

oils lavender oil

At the front end of your first desert camping trip, you proudly proclaim your immunity to sunburn, only to end the day with skin that looks like charred sausage. Your face would be red with shame if it wasn’t already peeling and painful. Massage any burn or open wound with 2-3 drops of lavender oil. Not only will the wound heal faster and stop bleeding, but lavender’s soothing powers kick in and you’ll find instant relief.

Scenario #3: Nosebleed

You’re backpacking along a cliff side when you feel a rush in your temples and taste blood on your upper lip. You forgot your toilet paper at the last stop and have nothing but your sleeve to deal with this sudden scarlet gush, so dab diluted lavender on either side of your nose. The flow will stop almost instantly. Even lavender-scented lotion works for this.

Scenario #4: Deodorant

camping van lavender oil backpacking

image: pexels

You had a feeling you forgot something very important back home, but had no idea it was this important. If camping alone, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but you’re a little uncomfortable to share your primal aroma with the rest of your close-knit group. Lavender actually kills bacteria that cause body odor, so simply apply a few drops to the good old pits and exude a calming scent for the rest of the day. A deodorant stick takes up a lot of room in a backpack anyway, so you totally meant to leave it home in the first place.

Scenario #5: Tent freshener

Jean-Pierre Chamberland/Flickr

Jean-Pierre Chamberland/Flickr

Someone has extra-sweaty socks, and it’s not you. Make a quick air freshener by filling a spray bottle with ½-1 cup of water, 8 drops of lavender, and supplement with 8 drops of two other fragrant oils, such as sandalwood, lemon, or wild orange. Lavender has antiviral properties that really do purify the air, rather than simply disguise it like commercial air fresheners.

Scenario #6: Insomnia

insomnia van camping

credit: pexels

You already suffer from insomnia on a soft mattress, and tonight you’re wide awake with a monster tree root under your right hip and a small boulder under your shoulder blade. Luckily, lavender is one of the most soothing essential oils. Put a few drops on your pillow before bed for a deep, natural sleep.

For immediate calm, rub a drop into your palms and inhale deeply; you can also apply the oil to the soles of your feet and your wrists.


Ellyn Gibbs is a writer, camping adventurer, and Misadventures editorial intern.